Nicole Murphy, one of the four young people killed in a road collision in Clonmel, Co Tipperary last Friday, August 25, was laid to rest today, August 31.
Murphy's funeral at the Church of St. John the Baptist in Kilcash, Co Tipperary, the first of the funerals for the victims of the Clonmel crash, was attended by hundreds of people on Thursday afternoon.
Dozens of Murphy's classmates from the Loreto Convent in Clonmel lined the pathway into the small church ahead of the arrival of her remains on Thursday. According to Tipperary Live, several students fainted while the mass took place due to the heat and gathered crowds.
Among the many in attendance at Murphy's funeral were President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, Minister for Education Norma Foley, and Clonmel mayor Cllr Richie Molloy.
A number of symbols were presented before the altar during Thursday's service, including a Christmas tree representing Murphy's "love of Christmas," a set of rosary beads representing her love of God, an apron representing her love of baking, and a concertina representing her love of music.
Fr. Brian Power welcomed Murphy's parents Declan and Serena, her sister Zoe, and her brother Ryan to the church on Thursday. He also thanked the community for their support since the tragic accident last week.
In her eulogy, Serena Murphy described her "amazing" daughter as the "light and soul of the family."
She told those in attendance about how her daughter used to love decorating the house at Christmas, especially placing the angel on top of the tree.
"I remember she would stare at the angel on the top of the tree and admire how beautiful it was," Serena said.
"Now she is our beautiful little angel.
"We would like to ask you when you are putting an angel on top of your Christmas tree this year will you please think and pray for our angel Nikki, that she is somewhere more beautiful than any Christmas she can think of."
Serena spoke of how her daughter was shocked to have received 531 points in her Leaving Cert, the results of which she learned just hours before her tragic death.
The 18-year-old was planning to study midwifery in Cork before eventually moving on to radiography, her mother told the church.
"She dreamed of that job since she was a little girl but never believed that she would reach that goal."
Fr. Power described Nicole as a "gift" to her family.
"We are here in the church where so many of the joyful occasions of Nikki's short life took place. She was baptized here in Kilcash church, made her first Holy Communion here, and was Confirmed here by Bishop Alphonsus," Fr Power told the congregation.
He added that the presence of so many young people at her funeral was a "testament and tribute to the wonderful person that she was."
18-year-old Murphy was killed in a single-vehicle collision on Mountain Road in Clonmel last Friday evening, August 25. Zoey Coffey and Grace McSweeney (both 18) and Grace's 24-year-old brother Luke were also killed in the accident.
The funerals of siblings Grace and Luke McSweeney will take place in Clonmel on Friday, while Zoey Coffey's funeral mass will take place in Clonmel on Saturday.
Murphy, along with Zoey Coffey and Grace McSweeney, had received her Leaving Certificate results just hours before Friday's tragic accident and were en route to a results party in Carlow Town at the time of the incident.